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Ultramar: No Changes to Stores After CST Spinoff

No closures slated for Canadian locations, but new retail focus will create value

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland -- The spinoff company now operating Ultramar gas stations in Canada said customers should notice no immediate changes at its dozens of locations across the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, reported The Telegram. But positive changes are coming as a consequence of the deal.

Last month, the San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp., Ultramar's parent company, created CST Brands Inc. to operate its fuel and convenience store operations independently of its refinery operations. Valero supplies fuel to several thousand stations across Canada, the United States and the U.K. under several different brands, including Ultramar, Beacon and Texaco.

The separation of the refining and retailing assets--convenience stores attached to the 63 Ultramar stations in Newfoundland and Labrador operate under the name Corner Store--would increase value for shareholders and allow a single company to concentrate solely on retail operations, a spokesman for CST Brands told the newspaper.

The change in operation, he said, will not mean any closures.

"We'll keep the same number of employees. All 63 sites remain the same," Pierre Tessier told the paper. "We actually started to invest a lot of money last year in all the changing of the branding at all the sites, so we will pursue that as well this year. But there's no change at all in terms of the impact on the consumer or the market itself."

CST is a corporate identity created to develop a company that specializes in retail operations and focus on its own products like Transit Cafe coffee.

"It's mostly to create value for shareholders, first of all," he said, "but also to become like a real retail company that is the exclusive distributor of Ultramar fuel, and that will enable the company to really develop a bigger footprint in the retail business."

In the United Sates, CST Corner Stores sell Valero fuels and products such as Fresh Choices baked and packaged goods, U Force energy and sport drinks, Cibolo Mountain coffee, FC Soda and Flavors2Go fountain drinks. In Canada, CST is the exclusive provider of Ultramar fuels and its Depanneur du Coin and Corner Stores sell signature Transit Cafe coffee and pastries.

In 2013, CST Brands plans to build 15 new stores in the United States, adding to its network of more than 1,032 stores throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and California. More than half of CST Brand's U.S. Corner Stores are located in Texas, one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. 

In Canada, CST Brands sells Ultramar fuels through 848 retail sites in Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and eastern Ontario and is one of the largest retail distributors of home heating oil in Eastern Canada. The network includes 80 cardlock sites located along natural trucking routes or industrial parks that allow trucking and commercial fleets to buy fuel 24 hours a day. It plans to build eight new company-operated stores and add 15 new dealer sites in Canada in 2013.

CST Brands is one of the largest independent retailers of motor fuels and convenience merchandise in North America. It employs nearly 12,000 team members at nearly 1,900 locations throughout the Southwestern United States and Eastern Canada.

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